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|Index||11 reviews in total|
I'll be straight up honest I only went to watch this movie for the IMAX
experience while I was visiting a museum. The images were definitely
huge, though I was expecting better image quality. As far as image
quality goes, I actually later enjoyed image quality of the trailer on
youtube in 1080p HD more than that of the actual movie. Admittedly the
giant screen does have it's impressive charm though and you can blame
my disappointment on my ignorance of IMAX movies.
As far as the movie goes it was pretty average though that doesn't exactly mean it was that bad. You got to see cool landscapes, and learn about the wildlife. I'm pretty sure the impression I have right now is exactly as the filmmakers intended; fascinated by the Arctic and sympathetic to the polar bears. I was disappointed at first, but in retrospect it was a decent made film, I was just expecting more than you can typically see on Animal Planet. It was also rather short. I also wish the environmental message was more subtle than it actually was.
One thing I have to complement about the movie is the soundtrack. It was pretty good, in my initial disappointment I don't think I expected to be later searching for the songs online.
In the end I give it a 5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This IMAX film doesn't conceal the fact that it is a plea for reducing
greenhouse gases to slow down the melt of the polar ice caps. Because,
if the rate of warming keeps accelerating the polar ice will disappear
completely every summer, and according to the writer of the script,
Polar Bears will die out. Because they cannot live anywhere else.
In keeping with this theme a good portion of the 40-minute running time focuses on a mother bear and her two 7-mo-old cubs. As the filmmakers make clear in the DVD extra, it was mostly good fortune, they happened upon this family of three that were not at all spooked by their boat. In fact at times they would come up to the boat and inquire. So they were able to study and film them for quite some time. Including an episode where, after mother bear killed a seal and the three of them feasted a big hungry male, twice the size of mother bear, set his sights on her cubs. But she was able to scare him off.
The film also spent some time on the migrating Caribou and a newlywed couple who were tracking them. Also a brief comment about the underwater sea life being affected by the increasing acidity of the ocean.
The film was narrated by Meryl Streep. I saw it on DVD and while not as spectacular as 3D in an IMAX theater, it indeed is a very good-looking film. But rather limited in its scope.
Here are 3 things that lost this exceptionally well-photographed, IMAX
presentation some very serious points.
(1) It contained some really pathetic, "grate-on-your-nerves" songs from 71-year-old, pop icon (and former-Beatle), Paul McCartney.
(2) Its phone-in narration (which was absolutely "dry-as-a-bone") was lifelessly delivered by veteran actress, Meryl Streep.
(3) This "message" documentary also got a bit out of hand when it came to driving home the point that it was, indeed, all man's fault for being the one who was creating all of the greenhouse gases that were causing global warming to accelerate (which, in turn, was destroying the arctic environment for polar bears and other such cold-climate wildlife).
But, on the other hand - There certainly was some very outstanding camera-work done in this documentary whose story traced the journey of a mother polar bear and her two, 7-month-old cubs as they bravely navigated their way across the ever-changing arctic wilderness.
Through masterful and patient cinematography and editing, the movie documents a compelling story of survival. I was very much invested and fearful for the mother and her cubs, who were under the constant threat of attack by desperately hungry adult male bears, who were unable to otherwise feed themselves due to the effects of man's environmental recklessness on their habitat. Being a native IMAX movie, the picture quality is superb - way better than, say, Planet Earth or Arctic Tale. The presentation, the aerial shots, and the way the cameras take the viewer on the bears' journey is amazing. As for music, in addition to the Paul McCartney songs, there's also some beautiful original score by Steve Wood. Particularly the delicate celestial track that was also used on the Bluray's home menu screen gave me goosebumps. It's worth noting that a very tiny segment features footage shot using a remote controlled robotic digital camcorder, which (at the obvious expense of image quality) was able to capture the kind of up-close action that would've been impossible to get using the bulky and precious IMAX camera. However, rather than blow those scenes up to fill the entire screen, the movie has the honesty to put them in a sort of small ice-themed frame in the center, as if to say: "Look folks, these are some cool bits that we had to include but we're not by any means trying to pass them as 65mm film". This is something I came to appreciate having watched Hubble 3D, a movie where the vast majority of the non-CGI parts are cheap consumer camcorder footage (Am I watching an IMAX 3D movie or a reality TV show?). Anyway, if you love having your HD screen filled edge-to-edge with gorgeous full 16:9 65/70mm IMAX shots, you absolutely need to own To the Arctic 3D on Bluray.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"To the Arctic 3D" is an IMAX 40-minute nature documentary from 3 years ago. 2-time Oscar nominee MacGillivray and Stephen Judson worked on many of these, so lack of experience certainly is not an issue here. same goes for narrator Meryl Streep. I think she mostly does a fine job. It's not great, but I liked how clear she spoke that even non-native English speakers like myself have no problem understanding the contents. I did not like the male narrator though. No idea why they had to include a second voice. In terms of the contents, it's not bad, but could have been better. Sometimes it felt artificially dramatic and there is one part with really bad music in the last third of the film that would have fit an animated movie for little children. No idea what they were thinking there. However, what we see is nice. The arctic is as beautiful to look at like the polar bears and the other animals in here. Some of the information are fine and new, but in terms of telling us something new this film also comes short. It partly makes up for that in terms of the emotion and display of maternal love we have here. All in all, a decent watch that still misses out on greatness though.
I checked this DVD out from my local public library thinking it would
be a great documentary on the Arctic. Well, there are some great
images, but the overall production/direction is almost too distracting.
Paul McCartney added some music for the score, and much of the time, it
distracts the viewer rather than adds to the experience.
And instead of presenting the content and allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions, in my opinion the film goes too far in trying to emotionally manipulate regarding climate change and its effect on the animals of the Arctic.
This documentary film is about the life of wild polar bears residing in
Though it is just under 40 minutes long, "To The Arctic" transports us to an unfamiliar world where the landscape is just barren ice and snow. The landscape is beautiful, and the only life forms we see are polar bears. Filming the polar bears curiously exploring the camouflaged camera was a nice touch, as it was funny and provided a light touch to the documentary. The scene where mama polar bear protects her cubs from the other polar bear is tense and thrilling as well. However, it would have been good to have more educational elements as well. As it stands currently, it is more like a collection of footage of polar bears rather than a complete educational documentary.
Within the first 10 minutes, the movie takes an awful turn towards
delivering a message on Global Warming. For the life of me, I can't
understand why a potentially good movie would be "ruined" by attempting
to insert a political message on Global Warming.
Perhaps the filmmakers could give us a heads up that the movie contains "their" opinion that "Global Warming" is man made. We wouldn't have wasted our money to see it.
Sad that a supposed documentary becomes political commentary. I am half surprised it didn't scold us for not voting for Al Gore.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The last time I went to an OMNI-MAX was back in 2006 with the release
of "Beavers." It has always been a treat to see a movie on such a large
screen. "To The Arctic" does not let down on its sweeping shots of
landscapes and emphasis of SFX and sound. Meryl Streep as the narrator
is a nice break from the typical voice-overs, such as Morgan Freeman
and Peter Coyote.
Unfortunately, this documentary is a disappointment on two crucial parts. First is the material that is covered. The movie presents itself as exploring the Arctic Circle. It covers seals, walruses, the land, brief blips of filmmakers, and polar bears. This is all fine, but the problem is that the narrative wonders. It starts with one subject, then changes to another without giving the viewer enough information, much less time to digest it. I did not learn anything nature-wise due to this.
The bigger issue is the underlying message. In documentaries like these, it is common to add personification to the animals as a means to gain some emotional attachments. What I did not anticipate was that this G-rated, family-oriented documentary has an agenda. It is not to give us a nature lesson, rather, it states that we are responsible for the destruction of the arctic and the wildlife within it. The movie goes on, claiming that the greenhouse effect is a cause for this. I half expected Al Gore to make a cameo.
I don't necessarily oppose this message, but I do find it wrong to disguise it in a film that is supposed to be about nature. The fact that the filmmakers use cute polar bears that are struggling to survive as an excuse for this message is borderline appalling. "To The Arctic" has good visuals that are suitable for the OMNI-MAX, but watch out for its more than biased message.
So the camera work was good but not awesome as one would expect in an Imax theater. It was not (in the theater that I went to) even blue ray type quality and sound was muddy. There was no real plot. There are other animals in the Artic other than Polar bears. The worst part about the movie was (as I was watching this with my daughter) that about 10 of the 40 minutes of this movie was about how the Mother was trying to escape the "big bad" father of the cubs. I am not saying don't mention it but come on 25% of the movie?? MY 10 year old did NOT like it and neither did I. I won't say don't watch this movie... oh wait yes I will.
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